Happy New Year! Months ago I was interviewed for an article on Work-Life Balance. Published recently, it may help you start the New Year in a more relaxed way.
How to create happy memories
• Take three. A three-pronged approach to relaxation can vastly improve your quality of life. Daily, weekly, and seasonal "vacations" should be incorporated into your schedule. Give yourself permission not to do laundry, pay bills, work, chauffeur children, or do any activity that feels like a chore.
• Pared-back Parenting. That's already been discussed, though some parents might feel guilty if their focus isn't "all children, all the time." But that's the wrong attitude. psychotherapist Laura Van Riper says. Still not sure about the value of paring back? Studies have shown that children who were over-scheduled when growing up had poorer decision-making and coping skills when first faced with free time in college or when living independently.
• Simplify. Henry David Thoreau advocated the simple life, and modern therapists agree. "One of the best ways to simplify is to make a list of the five aspects of life you most value, written in descending order. Then you can gradually go about adding enjoyable activities that support your values, and paring back on commitments that do not support them," says Van Riper. "If it's not your passion, too, meet your commitment and then gracefully make your exit. This may free up one night a week or a month to spend with your partner, a friend, or a good book."
• Unplug. If you are one of the many who has trouble disconnecting from technology, force yourself to disconnect for a set time frame every night. You will be better rested, and probably feel more creative and effective in the morning.
• Face the music. One of the least discussed but most important ways to free up precious energy is to take care of lingering interpersonal conflicts as soon as possible. Many people, especially women, ruminate over relationship problems, and get paralyzed trying to sort them out. Try addressing disagreements and uncomfortable situations as soon as possible. It takes some practice to find the right balance of directness, diplomacy and compromise, but will be well worth it. You'll be surprised by how well this style of problem solving can free up energy.
-- Adapted from a list by Laura Van Riper, MSW